November 18, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of Vassar was treated like a celebrity at the U.S. Capitol Monday night – giving interviews, taking pictures, and meeting lawmakers at a special screening of the documentary about his life and recovery – “Travis: A Soldier’s Story.”
“You never expect to be here with all the busy things going on. But I’m excited – a small town kid excited to share his story and what his family’s been up to,” Mills said.
It’s been quite a journey for Mills the past year-and-a-half. In April 2012, he lost his arms and legs in an IED explosion during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.
He’s been recuperating at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, and fitted with prosthetic arms and legs. He even drove himself to the screening, Monday night.
When asked by ABC12 Washington correspondent Ted Fioraliso how he’s doing, Mills joked, “Horrible. No, I’m doing really well – thanks for asking.”
That sense of humor, despite everything that happened, is part of the reason the filmmakers were drawn to Mills.
“They’re just so authentic in the way they tell the story,” said the documentary’s producer, Katie Norris. “There’s a genuineness about it that anyone can be motivated by.”
And the feeling is mutual.
Mills said, “They hit me up, and they were really nice. Check out their website – Fotolanthropy – they tell touching and inspiring stories. They wanted to come for 10 minutes…and after one day they were like, ‘We’ve got a documentary here. We can make something of this.’ And so they filmed four more days.”
Mills says he did the movie to tell his own story of resiliency. But now he realizes the impact it could have on others.
“If people get strength or inspiration from this movie, that’s not a bad thing,” he said.
It’s an exciting couple of days for Mills. On Tuesday, he’ll have a “retirement ceremony” at Walter Reed Medical Center where he’ll thank all the doctors and people who’ve helped him on this incredible journey to recovery.